MORTON GROVE, Ill. (AP)—With 329 wins and four Cy Young Awards, Greg Maddux has accomplished much throughout his 21-year career. He can add to his resume on Wednesday.
Maddux looks for a fifth win against one team in a season for the first time when the NL West-leading Los Angeles Dodgers meet the slumping Cincinnati Reds, who try to regain their lead in the NL wild card standings.
Los Angeles (70-62) needed 16 innings Tuesday to win its fourth game in a row and maintain a three-game division lead over San Diego. Ramon Martinez hit the first offering from Ryan Franklin to lead off the final frame, giving the Dodgers a 6-5 win.
“I wasn’t trying to end it. I just wanted to get on base,” Martinez said. “I’m not a home run hitter, so I don’t even know what was going through my mind when I hit it.”
Cincinnati (67-66) not only lost its fifth straight, but also relinquished its wild card lead for the first time in more than 2 1/2 months. The latest defeat combined with San Diego’s win over Arizona left the Reds one-half game behind the Padres—the first time since June 13 that Cincinnati has not had a share of the wild card lead.
“You can’t think about anything other than winning ballgames,” reliever Scott Schoeneweis said. “We can’t worry about what St. Louis is doing, and there are so many teams locked in for the wild card.
“So it doesn’t matter who’s playing who—someone is going to gain some ground. So we just have to go out and concentrate on winning, and the rest will take care of itself. We’ve got as good a shot as anybody.”
The Reds also are 3 1/2 games behind NL Central-leading St. Louis. If recent history is any indicator, they’re in danger of falling further behind.
Maddux (11-11, 4.25 ERA) is 4-0 with a 2.35 ERA against the Reds this season, but three of those victories came while he was with the Chicago Cubs.
On Aug. 3, Maddux made his Los Angeles debut against Cincinnati after being acquired in a trade four days earlier. He tossed six hitless innings in a 3-0 victory, but was replaced after a 46-minute rain delay.
Maddux can become the first NL pitcher with five wins against one team in a season since 2004, when Atlanta’s Russ Ortiz did so against Montreal and Carlos Zambrano of the Chicago Cubs had five wins over Pittsburgh.
Maddux is 2-0 with a 2.32 ERA in five starts with his new team, but is coming off his worst outing as a Dodger. He gave up four runs—two earned—and 10 hits over five innings of a 9-7, 15-inning loss to Arizona on Friday.
“I guess they just match up good against me, I don’t know,” said Maddux, who fell to 1-9 in his career against the Diamondbacks, “but I didn’t pitch very good tonight.”
With his next victory, Maddux will move past Hall of Famer Steve Carlton into sole possession of 10th place on the all-time wins list.
Reds starter Aaron Harang (13-9, 3.67) looks to become the NL’s fourth 14-game winner and end his recent road woes.
After winning three straight road starts from June 2-23, Harang is 1-4 with a 4.50 ERA in his last six starts away from Great American Ball Park.
Despite his recent struggles, Harang’s 2.75 road ERA for the season is the lowest in the NL. The right-hander is 1-2 with a 5.30 ERA in three career starts versus Los Angeles.
He went seven innings against San Francisco on Friday, allowing two runs and nine hits in a 4-1 loss.
“I didn’t feel like I had my slider tonight,” Harang said. “Every slider I threw up there was flat and stayed over the middle of the plate.”
The Dodgers’ Brad Penny, Arizona’s Brandon Webb and Zambrano of the Cubs all have 14 wins. St. Louis’ Jason Marquis, who is scheduled to start Wednesday against Florida, also is in search of his 14th win.